Intel Future-Proofs Design

There have been mixed reactions from analysts and enterprises to a bold initiative by Intel to create a smoother PC upgrade cycle.

Intel’s Transition Management progra-mme aims to create a more stable en-viron-ment for IT managers by guaranteeing Intel’s motherboards will accommodate future processor designs or higher systems.

Intel will ensure that its current chipsets – such as the BX – will be compatible with the Katmai processor when it is launched, so corporate users who have upgraded their processors, will not have to change the motherboard or buy a complete new system. The initiative responds to the growing acceptance of thin client computing, which lets IT managers leave the PC upgrade treadmill altogether.

The new generation of processors begin with Katmai, which will work with existing BX motherboards. Intel said that when corporate customers decide to buy new systems, they will move to the latest 820 chip-- set, which will be compatible with the next scheduled processor release.

Marc Vodovar, market research manager at Texas Instruments’ semiconductor group, is sceptical. "It is not in the tradition of the computer industry to act in this way," he said. "Maybe once the market is saturated [with PC systems] you can stabilise the technology." But Vodovar does not expect this to happen in the near future. Meanwhile, the largest PC vendors, which, like Intel, base their business models on rapid obsolescence of PC clients, have already begun offering desktop systems that will not change over a certain period of time. However, the current expected lifecycles are still too short to enable organisations to make long-term buying plans with any degree of confidence.

"Customers have been tell-ing us technology is changing too rapidly," said Steve Torbe, product marketing manager for Compaq PC products. He said though corporate customers do not mind upgrading pro-cessors, they want their basic product platform to stay the same. "Since May, we have been supplying the DeskPro EN range, which uses the same chipset and software drivers for all processors. We won’t launch a product into the DeskPro EN range with a product lifecycle of less then six months." Compaq currently expects a maximum lifecycle of around 14 months, and is in talks with Intel in the US to try to increase this figure.

Dell has been offering its Optiflex range of desktop systems with a product lifecycle guarantee for the past three years, while Compaq launched its ‘stable’ corporate systems earlier this year. "One of the problems is the timing of buying a product with a set lifecycle. If an IT manager buys a system at the beginning of the cycle, he will have the full 18 months ahead, but if he buys after 17 months, he will have a very short lifecycle," said Nick Eades, head of marketing for Optiflex.

"Next year is going to be all about transition management because PC vendors have gone from ann-ouncing products to ambushing customers with discontinued lines and technologies. Let’s calm all this down."

Source: ZDNet UK


FAQ Articles DirectX Plus98! Downloads Drivers News Archive
Home, Links, Awards, Help, Map, Poll, Newsgroups, Online Chat, Mailing List, Search
Tips & Tricks Guides Bugs & Fixes Themes Reviews Site Contents ActiveIE

HR Line

Copyright (C) 1998-1999 The Active Network. All rights reserved.
Please click here for full terms of use and restrictions.